COLOMBO: Sri Lanka selectors have packed their Test squad full of pace bowlers as they expect to encounter seamer-friendly conditions when they travel to Australia for a three-match series starting next month.
Nuwan Kulasekara and Shaminda Eranga, who helped bowl Sri Lanka to victory in the first Test against New Zealand at Galle on Monday, form a five-man pace attack that also includes Dhammika Preasad, Chanaka Welegedera and Nuwan Pradeep.
“At the rate our fast bowlers are getting injured, we have picked five of them to be on the safe side,” chairman of selectors Ashantha De Mel told reporters yesterday.
“Our fast bowlers have a recent history of breaking down and not being able to play back-to-back Tests,” he added after naming a 16-man squad.
“On Australian surfaces, we will need to play at least three fast bowlers. It is very unlikely we will get any spin-oriented tracks.” Sri Lanka only named two slow bowlers with left-armer Rangana Herath, who took 11 wickets in the Galle victory, and off-spinner Suraj Randiv making the trip to Australia.
Left-handed opener Dimuth Karunaratne is also included after impressing on debut at Galle, where he scored a maiden unbeaten half-century as Sri Lanka eased to a crushing 10-wicket victory inside three days.
“Karunaratne impressed everyone with his positive style of batting which is what is required to win Test matches,” De Mel added.
“We have named three openers so that the team management can have the option of choosing either Karunaratne or Tharanga Paranavitana as a partner to (Tillakaratne) Dilshan.”
A separate squad will be named at a later date for the five-match limited overs series and two Twenty20 internationals. Sri Lanka are due to play three Tests in Australia, with the second Test starting on Boxing Day in Melbourne.
Sri Lanka squad: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Angelo Mathews, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Tharanga Paranavitana, Thilan Samaraweera, Prasanna Jayawardene, Rangana Herath, Nuwan Kulasekara, Shaminda Eranga, Suraj Randiv, Dinesh Chandimal, Chanaka Welagedera, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhammika Prasad, Dimuth Karunaratne. AFP